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15 January 2016 @ 06:04 pm
"Hell's Kitchen:" Season 1 Episodes 3-4  
Episode 3 was interesting because Gordon Ramsay, to even out the team, moved Michael from the Blue Team to the Red Team in hopes of whipping them into shape. He then gave the teams the challenge of preparing a 5-course meal for Gordon Ramsay. The Red Team won this challenge, again, so they got to hang out with Gordon Ramsay at a bar while the Blue Team cleaned the dorm rooms. However, when it came time to cook for an audience again (which included two food critics in this case), the Red Team struggled to keep it together because Jeff wasn't pulling his weight. However, they still won because they had the better food.

Ultimately, Jeff left during the final competition. I'm not sure if he quit voluntarily or was eliminated, although the credits say he left due to an injury. Ralph, the most competent and aggressive player on the Blue Team, had to select two of his teammates for elimination, with the one eliminated being Wendy.

The dynamics of the show seemed to have shifted slightly in Episode 4, with the weakest players all gone. In this episode, the teams were challenged to set a place by Gordon Ramsay's maitre d', which the Blue Team won because they made fewer mistakes. As a result, they got to have a spa day while the Red Team had to clean and polish dishes and silverware. The Red Team also had to set all the places before opening night. Despite this, the Red Team actually won, being the first to serve all their guests. Jessica was placed in charge of nominating people for elimination, and she selected Mary Ellen and Andrew, with the result that Mary Ellen was sent home. Interestingly, I had noticed that for the past two or three episodes they sort of set up a rivalry between Andrew and Mary Ellen. I also noticed that Jessica considered throwing out Ralph, because he was her biggest competition.

I fully expect the show to get more interesting from this point on, and I rather suspect that the players will have to get more interesting too, or risk being thrown out. I highly suspect that the real reason Mary Ellen went home was not because she was a bad cook, particularly, or even a bad team player; but because she was uninteresting. She was just another aspiring chef without a whole lot to distinguish herself, and while she was pretty sympathetic, she wasn't quite AS sympathetic as someone like Elsie. Andrew, as obnoxious as he could be, at least knew how to make himself memorable. I suspect they'll keep him around for at least one more episode, so he can either grow a bit and chill out, or become an arch-villain that audiences (and contestants) love to hate.

I've also realized that I really like Ralph. He's strangely charming. Michael is pretty great too. I'm pretty sure Gordon Ramsay swapped Michael from one team to another to make sure that there was at least one competent and charismatic player on each team.

So, so far the players left in the game are as follows:

Red Team
Chris-Was an accomplished chef before getting into the competition. At first kind of arrogant and not much of a team player but has mellowed out since. 
Michael-Really good at his job, cool, and cute. Carries every kitchen he's in. Probably a favorite to win.
Jimmy-Seems pretty sympathetic. A bit clumsy, but otherwise pretty good at doing what he does. Could make a decent enough underdog,if he survives beyond the next episode.
Elsie-A good chef, and has been a fairly good team player for these past episodes. A mother of six, which makes her sympathetic and something of an underdog since she's not a professional chef. So far seems to have no clear enemies because she's nice and skilled.

Blue Team
Ralph-Was a chef before joining "Hell's Kitchen." Charming and charismatic, with a take-charge, aggressive attitude. So far it's served him well, but he's so aggressive it might ultimately hurt him in the long run.
Jessica-Has become a fairly decent chef as of Episode 4. Started off fairly annoying and unlikable, but has been more sympathetic sincegetting visibly upset over losing her female teammates. Might be planning to throw out other players she considers to be threats.
Andrew-An annoying loudmouth who gets into arguments a lot and is a mediocre cook at very best. Seems to be mellowing out somewhat under guidance from Ralph, but his teammates don't like him much. Was slated for elimination twice but passed over in the face of worse or less-interesting teammates. Could be an interesting coming-of-age type character if he doesn't keep annoying people and making bad food.
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